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Pasolini in Tottenham


I don’t know if Pasolini ever visited the United Kingdom. Maybe yes, maybe no. I don’t really care. I would like to talk about Pasolini in Tottenham. I want to question the sensibility of the poet of the mid-twentieth-century Roman borgate from the point of view of a violent rebellion of lumpenproletarians that took place in the English suburbs in August 2011.

The visions and predictions that we find in his writings and films are good starting points for a discussion about what happened in the streets of Tottenham and Peckham, and also about what is going to happen in the coming months and years all over Europe, in the insurrection that has already started and that will continue to rage everywhere in the Old Continent—a continent that is turning into a region of violence and misery thanks to neoliberal politics, financial dictatorship, and the ignorance and dogmatism of the European ruling class.

I met Pasolini in 1965, or maybe 1966, when as a schoolboy I went to see The Gospel According to Matthew with Professor Corrado Festi, a blind man who taught philosophy in the high school where I studied. Professor Festi was a libertarian communist who brought a student or two to the movies with him because he needed someone to explain what we were seeing, so that he himself could see.

I met Pasolini again in the year 1968, after the Valle Giulia riots, when for the first time the students did not run away, but instead reacted against the violence of the police. In Valle Giulia, Pasolini wrote a poem—a bad poem, I believe: rancorous and sour, without light or irony.

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